Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

African Summer: There’s a Story Behind Every Purchase

Brooke Andersen is a lifestyle blogger and social media specialist for Whole Foods Market currently living in Seattle. When Brooke isn’t developing social strategy, you can find her Instagramming her shoes mid-hike or enjoying a glass of rosé. 

Do you know the story behind the shea butter on your bathroom counter or the chocolate bar on your desk? When we shop, we are bombarded with messages and it can be difficult to really think about the impact of our grocery list.

That’s why I want to share the stories of these brands because of the huge impact they’re creating for social enterprise in Africa. Each of the following companies does more than just give back to their community. They provide resources and create economic opportunity where it’s needed most. 

Alaffia was founded to maintain the handcrafted tradition of creating shea butter from Togo’s natural resources while advancing gender equality and alleviating poverty in one of West Africa’s most disadvantaged communities. This video showcases Alaffia’s vision for how traditional practices can contribute to the global economy and how powerful one purchase of shea butter can be.

What can a coffee sleeve do to help create social enterprise in Africa? LIFE Line began with 8 female employees who became a catalyst for change for an entire community in rural Kenya. These women bond together to create beautiful canvas products to support projects like education for children with special needs, agriculture and environmental initiatives, as well as nutrition and wellness training. 

Madécasse is not just another run of the mill chocolate bar. Although 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa, it is rare for production to stay local. Madécasse saw this as an opportunity to source, produce and package each bar only in Madagascar in order to make a truly positive social impact in the community. 

A coffee that you regularly see in Whole Foods Market stores is also part of this movement as the Allegro Coffee travels the globe searching out coffees that are as unique as their places of origin. Currently Allegro is sourcing coffee from 25 different counties and many more family run farms and coffee cooperatives within each country. Hear about what goes into getting you a great cup of coffee from Darrin Daniel, director of sourcing for Allegro Coffee. 

Whole Foods Market and the Whole Planet Foundation® are proud to support many businesses throughout Africa and the rest of the world as they grow and thrive. Whole Foods Market has partnered with entrepreneurs to extend microcredit to them and their businesses. Because of this microcredit, they are able to improve the daily lives of not only their employees, but also their entire community. Steve Wanta, the global program director for Whole Planet Foundation shares his personal story of how he forged a deeper connection to his purpose through his work.

Beginning June 10th, stores in Northern California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia will be selling handmade bracelets from the Maasai women in Kenya to show support for job creation and fair wages in Africa. LIFE Line's Beaded with LOVE bracelet connects the maker and the wearer with a common purpose. We are honored in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California regions to bring light to these brands that are changing how businesses can give back by creating practices that build social enterprise in Africa.

If you’re in the Seattle or Bay Area, please join us at one of these events to meet the producers and continue to be inspired by the impact they make all year round. 

Seattle

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 5:30-8:30 PM

Location: South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109

Click here to RSVP and find more Seattle event details

Berkley

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 5:30-7:30 PM

Location: International House, UC Berkeley 2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720

Click here to RSVP and find more Bay Area event details

Is there a company whose story has made an impact on you? Tell us about it in the comments below.